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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Golden Orb Spiders

Golden orb spiders, genus Nephila, also known as Giant wood spiders or Banana spiders. The name Nephila, comes from the Ancient Greek, meaning, "fond of Spinning."

These spiders occur in the warmer parts of the world, Australia, Asia, Africa and America. In  North America the species is Nephila clavipes.


The name Golden orb spider comes from the fact that their webs have a golden colour which glows in the sunlight. Some scientist believe the colour acts as a cammoflage against the plant voliage, others say it attracts insects such as bees and butterflies.

Nephila venom is potent but not lethat to humans.

Attempts have been made to cultivate Golden orb spiders in the same way as silk worms, but without succes. Nephila silk has been used in tissue engineering, it's biocompatibility promotes cell adhesion and proliferation, especially in peripheral nerve growth.

In Japanese volklore it is believed that Nephila can shapeshift and change into an attractive woman. Just remember that if you should come across one of these, the female spider always eats it's mate!

The photo below is of a Golden orb spider taken in the Siringa tree just next to my cottage. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see the gleaming  golden strands. The web of this particular spider was about one meter in diameter. The spiders you see in the background, each in their own webs are equally large.

Golden orb spiders are thought to be becoming scarcer, this lot in my tree don't seem to know that.

Banded-legged golden orb-web spider, Nephila senegalensis.


Nephila oilipes Giant wood spider. The small ones are males.



Above Nephila maculata


Above, Nephila clavipes

Source, information and pictures except the first one. Wkipedia and www.wildlifeextra.com 

2 comments:

Brittany Engebretsen said...

That. is. terrifying. I went on a trip with family to the Bahamas, and let me tell you, those spiders sure didn't seem "scarce" there! Haha! We went down a trail to the "Blue Hole", and above us the entire way were webs strung from one tree to another like banners over the dirt trail. I screamed so hard one time when I looked to my left and saw one close by that I actually scared HIM!!! LOL He jumped at my scream. Poor thing.

angryrat said...

I almost inhaled one in Florida when I was jogging at night... since then I'm really-really freaked out of them.